November 10, 2014
On Saturday July 18th, the AskTheTrucker “Live” broadcast took on a display of unity and passion from trucking industry professional drivers which had not been sensed in a long time. The 1st scheduled topic was truck drivers wages.
The show was scheduled to cover MANY issues, but for 2 hours we did not get off of the first topic of wages.
Listen to the replay
Discussions opened up with driver wages from the 70′s and 80′s and how they compare to today wages. As the show progressed it was determined that one of the main reasons (and there were others) that driver wages have remained stagnant for so long is partially due to the drivers themselves. Their acceptance and tolerance of believing that it’s just “the way things are” has created a mentality of disillusionment, hopelessness and at times victimization.
Another reason for low driver wages is the industry itself. One example is the fact that drivers are used as pawns in the negotiations of freight bidding wars. Mr Fritz explains this and much more as he opens up with his dialogue of “TRUCKING: Then and Now.”
As the show continued, other callers joined in, including Pat Hockaday of TruckersUnited.org, who has also written in depth about driver wages and the solutions to better pay.
By the end of the show, it was unanimously agreed upon, that one main action would need to be taken in order to accomplish better wages for professional drivers.
July 23, 2015
Time! Ownership of time! An Employee Drivers Time!
As an OO my time should belong to me. Due to ELD's that will monitor All of my activity while I'm in MY TRUCK even when I am at home and should be on My Time I will actually be AT Work if I use MY TRUCK to go shopping simply because my movements will be monitored!
When I am not at home and I'm in my truck anywhere USA in pursuit of earning an income, I AM AT WORK 24/7 until I go back home unless I choose to park the truck somewhere and take time off anywhere USA.
As I see it, I am either Available or I am Unavailable. I am unavailable when I have walked away from the truck to enjoy the fruits of my labor. This is why I work to begin with. To earn an income. I go to work and stay AT Work well over 300 days a year. I am an OTR Driver.
I am AT Work, or Available, when I am ready, willing and able to work. This means that in the course of earning an income, being AT Work or Available, I must fulfill the job duties as prescribed in the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Regulations (FMCSR's). I must also follow the carrier that I am leased to written company policy. My carrier requires me to operate legally or my contract can be terminated. If I do not take the mandatory 10.5 hrs of break time that is required in order to operate safely, I can be terminated!
The IRS permits me to claim per diem for the days that I am AT Work NOT At Home!
Many Drivers feel as I do only because it makes sense that if they are away from family and friends for days on end, it is because they are AT Work.
Many Drivers say this is a lifestyle. I strongly disagree! This is a job! My lifestyle is at Home! My Job supports my lifestyle!
Many Drivers say that all of the uncompensated work that they are required to perform, well, It's just part of the job. I don't know about you but I've always believed that a job is something that you get paid to do.
You must put fuel in the truck or it doesn't go.
You must unload the trailer before you can load it.
You must wait at shippers and receivers to load or unload.
You must wait to be dispatched.
If your dispatch doesn't load for 36 hours you must wait as you were directed to do. This is company forced detention just as waiting for load coordinators to book a load is company forced detention.
Pre-trips and post trips along with en-route vehicle inspections are part of the job.
Axleing out, washing the truck, being inspected, being stuck in traffic, following detours, and my favorite of all, going out of route because the carrier won't pay tolls or because it is illegal to drive thru Atlanta, Ga.
Why are Drivers paid piece work wages such as milage pay, tonnage pay or percentage pay? Could it be that it once was practical and easy to do so. Could it be that We Drivers were once able to earn a living wage and accepted these terms?
The FMCSA has been put in charge of making our roadways safe by the legislatures that "We The People" have voted into office. Why are "We The Truckers" paying for the safety measures that are being taken in lower earnings! "We The People" want Safety so why aren't they paying for it? Are They Paying for Safety and "We The Drivers" aren't seeing any of that money?
Like it or not, OUR wages only have to meet minimum wage requirements. 40hrs + 30hrs overtime in 7 days = $616.25. How does this cover a 168hr workweek. $616.25 / 168hrs = $3.67 an hour.
We do not work a 7 day workweek. Payroll is normally 7 days but according to the FMCSR's we are permitted to work 70hrs in 8 days. Our workweek is 8 days not 7 as we are governed over an 8 day period.
We do not work 9 to 5. Our day work is governed by the clock. 11hrs driving within the first 14 hours. I can be working "On Duty Not Driving" for 20hrs but I can not drive until I have a 10hr break and that 20hrs goes against my 70hrs.
We work with a rolling clock within a rolling calendar and Co OTR Drivers are paid for a 7 day payroll. It is possible to do 8 days work in 5 days and not be allowed to work unless a 34hr reset is taken or until hours are available on the recap.
Yup, milage pay is easy and the way they compute our time, Most all of us exceed the minimum wage standard.
NO, they are not going to change piece work wages!
NO, hourly pay on their terms would only mean that if We made $616.25 or more in seven days having logged 70hrs or less "Driving" and "On Duty Not Driving" combined, WE Have Met Or Exceeded The Standard They Have Chosen To Govern Us Under!!!!
How do We take the minimum wage and make it work for Us???
Could we insist that a higher minimum wage be set specifically for Employee OTR Drivers?
What rules and regulations can be used to alter and back up a different form of payment?
How much time do we have to figure something out?
How much would be a fair living wage for Co OTR Drivers?
Once a plan is decided on, how do we spread the word and bring others onboard?
This is a daunting task, overwhelming in every aspect of taking this on!
If I may suggest, We all need to be OOIDA members to begin with. We need to understand that wether we agree or disagree with OOIDA one thing is for certain, OOIDA has a presence in DC and they are fighting for all truckers.
We need to start now and create relationships with our legislatures. OOIDA's FightingForTruckers.com web site makes this easy. You need not be a member to use it.
We need to understand that none of us know exactly how the "Letter Of The Law" eld's are going to affect us as I've only met one Driver who is actually using them. "Letter Of The Law" is exactly that!!! If you are familiar with parts 395 of the FMCSR's, THIS SHOULD SCARE THE HELL OUT OF YOU!!!!
The day these things go into effect may just be the day that we need to be prepared for. Understand this, Those who are currently using E-Logs will have a two year exemption according to the proposed rule making. When Drivers have been castrated by these things and start crying, You Better Understand that the megas have a plan in place to shut them up, a few pennies here and there at the last minute to make the peace.
Wishing you all the best.
Pat Hockaday (JoJo)
TruckersUnited .org ( I need to be working on the site to make my proposals more understandable.)
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